If you’re living with chronic pain, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. It can affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to work and take care of your family, to your social and emotional well-being. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to manage your chronic pain and improve your quality of life. One treatment that has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that was developed in the 1980s to help people who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a full therapy modality based on recall. As with many therapy modalities, more research is required, but EMDR has been found effective in treating ongoing symptoms of traumatic events like PTSD as well as a wide range of other conditions, including chronic pain.
During an EMDR session, the therapist will help you focus on a specific memory or issue that may be contributing to your chronic pain. You will then follow the therapist’s hand movements with your eyes as they move back and forth across your field of vision. This process is not fully understood, but is believed to help stimulate the brain’s natural healing processes and reduce the emotional distress associated with the memory or issue.
How can EMDR help with chronic pain?
Research investigating chronic pain as a sequela (or consequential symptom) of PTSD has highlighted that in some cases the conditions may be thought of as mutually maintaining. Up to eighty percent of patients with severe PTSD also suffer from chronic pain with no obvious physical cause, and neurological links between trauma-related stress and consequent physical symptoms, including pain, have also been established.
What about hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy can be used as a mode of delivery for EMDR, and at EMDR Therapy, Stephen Jacobs will use hypnotherapy where necessary. Although some societal prejudice against hypnosis as a form of therapy exists (due to factors like its association with stage tricks and magic shows), it has shown results in clinical research indicating it is effective in reducing anxiety.
The trance state induced by hypnotherapy allows a therapist to access the unconscious mind more directly, lay the groundwork for EMDR treatment, and conduct EMDR more effectively. It’s important to remember that hypnosis is not ‘mind control’, but a form of suggestion related to progressive muscle relaxation and guided mediation techniques.
Can EMDR work for me?
One of the benefits of EMDR is that it can be done in just a few sessions, unlike some other forms of therapy that may require long-term treatment. This can be especially helpful if you’re struggling with chronic pain and don’t have the energy or time to commit to a lengthy treatment process.
However, EMDR isn’t a magic cure-all or silver bullet. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s also important to continue working with your primary care physician and other healthcare professionals to manage your chronic pain and find the treatment plan that works best for you.
Contact Stephen Jacobs for more information
If you’re interested in trying EMDR to help manage your chronic pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to Stephen to learn more about whether EMDR therapy might work for you.